Tag Archives: health

Paralysis and AI

Every year, thousands of people around the world experience various neurological diseases like stroke and spinal cord injuries. Due to these diseases, many of them have paralysis. Such people are almost completely isolated from the social life, from any communication with doctors and relatives. That is why it is sometimes even impossible to avoid the usage of expensive equipment. There are already technologies in the world for reading thoughts and turning them into text messages at up to eight words per minute, but recently, scientists from the US state of Illinois have been able to improve this indicator. Artificial intelligence helped them greatly. 

ScienceMag introduced this technology. In their article they described the experiment in which a new technology returns the possibility of communication to the patient with the so-called tetraplegia. During the experiment, patient with implanted electrodes imagined how he would move a hand if he wrote letters. Certainly, during this process brain showed some activity, which ,as the result, was remembered by AI. Then computer was able to remember the place of the activity in the brain connected with particular letter of the alphabet and was able to display symbols alternately that patient mentally traced on the screen.  

According to the scientists, AI is able to recognize symbols with 95% accuracy. AI make several mistakes only with similar letters like «g» and «q», for example. Regardless this, now paralyzed person can text with the speed of 66 words per minute. To compare, the speed of texting of healthy person is 120 words per minute.

By the way, thoughts can be even transformed into the speech.

According to the editors of ScienceMag, researchers from Germany and the USA used some computational models based on neural networks, they reconstructed words and sentences by reading brain signals, as it was mentioned before. So the system is the same, they just observed areas of the brain at those moments when people read aloud, speak, or simply listen to notes.

During this research, they relied on data obtained from 5 people with epilepsy. The network analyzed the behavior of the auditory cortex (which is active both during speech and during listening). Then the computer reconstructed the speech data from the pulses received from these people. As a result, the algorithm coped with an accuracy of 75%.

Another team relied on the data of 6 people, that experienced the removing of brain tumor. Microphone picked up their voices when they read out loud different words. While this process, the electrodes recorded information from the speech center of the brain. Then computer compared the data from the electrodes with audio recording. Only 40% was correct as the result. 

The third team from the University of California reconstructed entire sentences based on brain activity from three patients with epilepsy who read specific sentences out loud. Some sentences were correctly identified in more than 80% of cases.

Regardless such appealing results, the system has a lot of shortcomings and is needed to be adjusted. However, it will be developed even more, so millions of people will have an opportunity to text and to speak once again.

References:

  1. https://hi-news.ru/research-development/najden-sposob-prevrashhat-mysli-v-ustnuyu-rech-govorit-dlya-etogo-ne-obyazatelno.html
  2. https://hi-news.ru/technology/iskusstvennyj-intellekt-pomogaet-paralizovannym-lyudyam-pisat-ot-ruki-pri-pomoshhi-mysli.html
  3. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/ai-allows-paralyzed-person-handwrite-his-mind 
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To disrupt the way health is monitored

After battling it out on Centre Stage, the audience cast their final votes. A moment of waiting and… we have it! Congratulations to Nutrix, who were crowned on Centre Stage at Web Summit 2019 tech conference this week, for their innovative solution to measuring glucose in the blood without needles.

Maria Hahn, CEO & Founder of Nutrix, receiving the main prize at Web Summit 2019
Source: https://portugalinews.eu/web-summit-announces-nutrix-as-pitch-winner/

 

Diabetes prevalence

Firstly, we will look at the data. It is estimated that 415 million people are living with diabetes in the world, which is estimated to be 1 in 11 of the world’s adult population. 46% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed. The forecast is as follows: the figure is expected to rise to 642 million people living with diabetes worldwide by 2040.

 

Nutrix’s vision

This year’s winner of Web Summit PITCH, powered by Siemens is going to disrupt the way health is monitored. Today it is only when you are unwell that you get the information from your doctor. Nutrix wants to give the people a chance to monitor this before.

Nutrix
Source: https://nutrix.tech/

 

Future of glucose monitoring

Currently, Nutrix is developing a high tech nanosensor that is placed on the tooth which detects glucose level in the saliva and transfers information to an external app. Nutrix is invisible, non-invasive, and patient-friendly. Additionally, it will track food intake and provide valuable information for the patient and artificial pancreas algorithms.

Nutrix’s nanosensor technology
Source: https://nutrix.tech/

 

Progress and development

Nutrix is being incubated at University Children’s Hospital Basel and developed at CSEM lab a private, non-profit Swiss research and technology organization.

 

Advantages

It is not the mere fact of monitoring blood glucose that arouses the greatest enthusiasm. It turns out that you can control the level of other chemicals in the same way. The technology proposed by the startup becomes useful not only for people who are sick and their lives depend on the level of specific substances in the blood. It is also an effective way to control the compounds consumed every day.

Correct blood sugar is important not just for diabetics. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels can contribute to weight gain and fat deposits all over the body. Therefore, it is a mistake to think that glucose levels should be controlled only by those who have diabetes.

So we get to the point where we can confidently say that the use of Nutrix is ​​an effective way to prevent civilization diseases.

Finally, Nutrix has a long-term vision that goes further than just glucose. This is their current focus, but ultimately the company wants to go into how to monitor the reaction of the immune system.

 

Diabetes and the environment

There are more advantages. Blood glucose test strips are the basic equipment of every diabetic. The strips are used for self-monitoring of blood glucose. They are used once and then discarded.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lancets are medical wastes called sharps. Sharps can be dangerous to that handling garbage if they are thrown in the regular trash. What is more, many people do not pay attention to the safe disposal of their medical waste. The use of a nanosensor eliminates the need for strips and reduces harmful effects on the environment.

 

Cost-effectiveness

An additional advantage of eliminating the need to use measuring instruments is not only the reduction of harmful effects on the environment. The less intrusive (read needleless) device will be sold at half the price of existing devices.

Invisible, non-invasive, patient-friendly. Good for the Earth and still less costly. There is nothing else to do but observe how Nutrix revolutionizes medicine. Soon, checking how many chemicals you ate during the day will be a matter of opening the app.

Can you imagine all of that data on your mobile device’s screen without the need of doing blood tests?

 

References:

[1] https://portugalinews.eu/web-summit-announces-nutrix-as-pitch-winner/

[2] https://www.diabetes.co.uk/diabetes-prevalence.html

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diabetes

[4] https://nutrix.tech/

[5] https://www.eu-startups.com/2019/11/nutrix-glycose-level-measurement-device-wins-pitch-competition-at-web-summit-2019/

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glucose_meter

[7] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK115277/

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Smart pills to help diabetics?

Scientists from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Novo Nordisk collaborate on creating a new kind of drug which aim is to make diabetics’ lives easier and less painful.

Nowadays people suffering from diabetes have to inject insulin multiple times per day to maintain a proper blood glucose level. For the last 100 years scientists tried to find a way to make insulin possible to be taken orally, which is quite a challenge, because many pharmaceutical compounds can’t survive the stomach’s harsh, acidic environment.

The new device created by previously mentioned scientists is about to finally allow diabetics to put injections off and make the whole process a lot easier. The smart pill works by attaching itself to the inside of the stomach and then injecting a payload through the gastric wall. Once the sugar glass that surrounds it is dissolved by acid in the stomach a tiny needle is released and a patient gets a proper dose of insulin.

The current injection is not the most comfortable process because of the pain related to inserting the needle into veins, right? Taking this smart pill orally means the injection will be done inside your stomach, which exactly means that you will not feel any pain. Why? According to Robert Langer, coauthor of the whole project, there are no pain receptors within the gastrointestinal tract.

Leopard Tortoise (Geochelone pardalis), Kruger National Park, South Africa

Moreover, the shape of the pill is inspired by the shape of a leopard tortoise’s shell, which automatically self-rights no matter how it lands – that kind of structure ensures that the device will attach to the gastric wall every time. It’s worth noting that the whole project is still at the proof-of-concept stage and has only been tested in animals, so the device won’t be available in the nearest future.

So, what are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think that in the futue smart pills will be a common thing? Let me know down below!

 

Sources:

https://www.technologyreview.com/the-download/612917/smart-pills-filled-with-tiny-needles-could-inject-medicine-directly-into-your/

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/02/pills-armed-tiny-needles-could-inject-insulin-other-important-meds-directly-stomach?r3f_986=https://www.google.com/

 

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LONGEVITY CLOSER THEN WE THINK?

Humans are thinking about immortality since the dawn of time. Thanks to the current progress in technology we are witnessing a discovery that potentially could rewrite our lives. Senolytics are new class of drugs which may provide us with a better, healthier lives.

Judith Campisi is a professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, California, and cofounder of a company called Unity Biotechnology in 2011. She is known as a leading figure in the biology of ageing since the early 1990s, when her research revealed that cells enter a phase known as senescence that prevents them from becoming cancerous.

Her research is currently focused on the role of cellular senescence in cancer and other age-related diseases. So, what cellular senescence basically means? According to Wikipedia, it is „one phenomenon by which normal cells cease to divide”. In 1960’s, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead found out that normal human fetal fibroblasts in culture reach a maximum of approximately 50 cell population doublings before becoming senescent. This phenomenon was called Hayflick limit and is known or overturning a 60-year-old dogma which maintained that all cultured cells are immortal.

It is worth noting that senescent cells in some point come to the kind of twilight state where they are still active but no longer dividing. Campisi’s and other scientists’ researches showed that this was a ‘strategy’ of the evolution process to derail incipient cancer cells, which are known to spread thanks to the cells division.

(PRNewsFoto/UNITY Biotechnology)

Now, Campisi is conducting researches on new class of drugs called senolytics, which eliminate senescent cells and restore more youthful characteristics (in animal experiments). The company called Unity Biotechnology, which she cofounded in 2011, launched a human trial of its first senolytic drug last July.

This actions can cause a moral dilemma whether we should live longer than we already do. Campisi points out that we should not confuse aging and death. She expects that, thanks to senolytics, we will be able to extend our “health span”, which basically means that there is a possibility that we will extend the duration of good health condition of our bodies while living the same amount of time as we currently do.

Today we can observe a debate about the limit to the human life span. Some say it can be 110 years, others claims it to be 150 years. Speaking of this case, Campisi provides us with examples such as world record for extending the life span of a little worm called C. elegans, which is 10-fold. On the other hand, most of the really intensive experiences extend mouse life span (which is about 97% genetically identical to human being) by 20-30%. In the end we just simply do not know what the maximum life span of human being, but there is a possibility that we can extend it even more than we already did, for example thanks to the discovery of vaccines.

 

So, what are your expressions on this topic? Would you like to live longer? Why? Or why not? Would you like to extend your “health span” or you believe that ageing is a necessary part of our lives? Let me know in the comment section!

 

Sources:

https://www.wikipedia.org

https://www.technologyreview.com

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Biohacking implanted under their skin implants with LED’s

American and German biohacking, inspired by the natural phenomenon of luminescence sew under their skin silicone implant with LEDs comprise from magnets. It is reported by Gizmodo.

Pittsburgh group of biohacking Grindhouse Wetware held a 15-minute operation to implant simultaneously with their German team-mates from Dusseldorf. The device is called the Northstar V1 size not larger than a coin – significantly less than the previous version (Circadia 1.0 computer chip).

Video: not for the faint of heart

The implant can simulate bioluminescence and highlight tattoos. If you hold a magnet on the skin, it starts to blink, and after ten seconds, and then returns to sleep mode. According to the calculations of developers before it needs recharging device can light up about ten thousand times. Then it must be recovered by re-operation.

bio-implants

The device goes on sale in 2016. Northstar V1 will distribute in tattoo salons all over the world. Grindhouse Wetware hopes to equip the new versions of the device with additional functions such as transfer sensitive biometric data to external devices as well as to act as a sensor gestures.

Biohacking – a special subculture whose members are engaged in a modification of his body with the help of cybernetic devices. Many biohacking championed transhumanism (Movement for the improvement of human resources in science and technology). “Breaking” of his own body and the implantation of different devices to find biohacking primary means of progress of human existence.

 

Open discussion

Implants under skin all pros and cons? Would you participate in such experiment? Future of biohacking?

Would it be a profitable business?

 

Photo credits: Ryan O’Shea / Grindhouse Wetware

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